China's navy flexing `soft power'
By James Holmes
Chinese leaders are acutely conscious of the sea's importance to their country's economic development and, indirectly, to their political survival. They have come to view defending the sea lanes where merchant ships haul the oil, gas and other raw materials needed to fuel the economy as a vital national interest. China is less and less content to entrust its interests at sea to the uncertain goodwill of the US, its rival for regional pre-eminence and Asia's long-time guardian of maritime security.
Accordingly, China has embarked on an assertive foreign policy in Southeast and South Asia, which adjoin the sea lines of communication connecting Chinese seaports with the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Its strategy: to build up sea power, measured in ships, bases and alliances. Energizing a populace accustomed to thinking of China as a land power is one crucial element of Beijing's new maritime diplomacy. Allaying fellow Asian nations' suspicions of its motives is another.
Beijing's maritime diplomacy blends the traditional elements of national power -- diplomacy, economics, military force -- in sophisticated fashion. It also makes use of "soft power." Harvard University's Joseph Nye, who coined the term, declares that a country rich in soft power boasts cultural attributes that make its society attractive to foreign peoples -- augmenting the routine tools of foreign policy.
For Nye, such manifestations of culture as movies, clothing and popular music play a role in international affairs, creating an atmosphere of international goodwill -- an affinity between peoples that a country's leaders can use to rally support for their foreign-policy initiatives. Nye worries that the administration of US President George W. Bush squandered US soft power in Iraq, but he assures us that China, traditionally Asia's central power, possesses abundant reserves of it. Chinese leaders agree.
Beijing has conjured up an unlikely ally for its soft-power offensive: Zheng He (鄭和), the Ming Dynasty's legendary eunuch admiral, who set out on the first of seven voyages of trade, diplomacy and commerce exactly six centuries ago. By recounting the feats of China's ancient mariner, Beijing radiates soft power throughout regions whose waters his "treasure fleet" -- so dubbed for the porcelains, silks and other trading goods it carried -- once plied.
Chinese officials cite Zheng's expeditions as a precedent for a strong, seafaring China. Their message: that China's current effort to amass sea power merely represents the latest phase in a benign regional supremacy that benefits all Asian nations.
Zheng's treasure fleet was in effect the first naval squadron stationed in the Indian Ocean by an outside power. Chinese officials play up several aspects of his exploits. First, they remind Chinese citizens and Asian leaders that China has a long heritage as a seagoing nation, despite its more recent preoccupation with land power. Thanks to Zheng, some 30 countries throughout the Southeast and South Asian littorals once acknowledged the Dragon Throne's suzerainty.
Second, Zheng's endeavors allow Beijing to indulge in one-upsmanship at the West's expense. His baochuan (寶船), or treasure ships -- essentially giant seagoing junks -- far outstripped European naval technology of his day. Not only did the baochuan dwarf the ships sailed by the likes of Columbus and da Gama, but they boasted innovations such as incendiary weapons and watertight bulkheads.
Some of these innovations didn't make their way into Western naval architecture for centuries.
Third, Chinese officials point out that Zheng used force only sparingly during his expeditions -- never to conquer territory. His warships crushed a pirate fleet near Malacca -- a boon to all states that depended on free passage of ships through the Strait -- and Chinese marines intervened briefly on Ceylon. Other than that, Zheng was able to establish commercial and diplomatic ties as far afield as Kenya without recourse to arms.
This, say Chinese spokesmen, makes a welcome contrast with Western imperialism: China makes a more trustworthy steward of Asian maritime security than any non-Asian power.
In short, Beijing has used Zheng to fashion a maritime diplomacy that bestows legitimacy on China's seafaring aspirations, mollifies nations skeptical of Chinese pretensions, rouses Chinese nationalism and subtly undercuts the US' standing as the leading maritime power in Asia. As history, Beijing's narrative is dubious -- after all, today's communist regime bears scant resemblance to the Ming Dynasty -- but it is impressive as a use of soft power.
Diplomats and military officers usually think about foreign policy in material terms, scanting the cultural dimension. Washington -- and Taipei -- must heed Nye's advice when thinking about China's bid for sea power.
James Holmes is a senior research associate at the University of Georgia's Center for International Trade and Security in Athens, Georgia.
China's thirst for energy complicating global policy
By Tim Johnson
Knight Ridder Newspapers
NINGBO, China - Barely a dozen years ago, when China's lamps still burned low, the country didn't need deep-sea oil ports, massive tank farms and a brawny foreign policy to procure oil in far-flung spots.
Today, China is an oil-guzzling dragon with a voracious thirst. Supertankers stretching three football fields in length now wait to enter China's deep-sea ports.
The busiest oil terminal is at Ningbo on the East China Sea. Shipping records show that in November, supertankers arrived there from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Yemen, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Congo to feed a craving that's helped drive up crude oil prices, rattle global politics and put China and the United States at odds in some of the world's most unstable regions.
China's thirst for oil has emboldened Iran and complicated the refugee crisis in Sudan. With its economy growing at a 9 percent annual rate, China is also courting many of America's oil suppliers, including Canada and Venezuela.
Increasingly, the United States and China are throwing elbows as global rivals for energy. The tussle could get more aggressive if the two nations can't manage to co-exist in the global energy contest.
"We've got to start those discussions before the race for oil becomes as hot and dangerous as the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said in a Nov. 30 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. "If we let it go, this could end up in real military conflict, not just economic conflict."
Compared to the United States, which consumes 25 percent of the world's annual oil output, China may seem like small potatoes. It burns only 6 percent of the world's production. Yet its energy use is rising steeply.
China exported more oil than it imported until 1993, when imports began to surge. This year, it's importing 3.4 million barrels a day, and some estimates say that within a decade it'll need 7 million barrels a day. Within two decades, demand could reach 12 million barrels a day, which would equal U.S. imports today. China's oil thirst since 2000 has accounted for 40 percent of the global demand growth for crude oil.
Senior Chinese officials grow testy at the suggestion that China's rising needs are roiling oil markets, saying the nation is following a natural path to prosperity.
"Some people complain that China is driving up oil prices. They think the reason lies in China's high consumption of oil," said Zhang Guobao, the vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. But Zhang said that China's per capita energy consumption is one-sixth of developed countries' and deserves to rise.
"Chinese people want to live a prosperous life. So the world should respect China's right to development," Zhang said.
China still wastes energy, leaving huge potential savings from efficiency. To generate $1 million in economic output, China needs eight times more oil - or its energy equivalent - than Japan does. Chinese officials claim a turnabout in efficiency is under way. Last summer, China made fuel standards for cars more stringent than those in the United States are, and a campaign is afoot to ramp up reliance on renewable energy.
Some experts suggest long-term projections on China's energy needs may be premature because the nation is capable of rapid adaptation and change, and of greater reliance on its vast coal reserves.
Some 68 percent of China's power comes from coal, and the nation is building electric power plants at a rate never seen before on Earth, fueling them from unsafe shafts where thousands of miners are killed each year.
China built power plants this year generating 68 gigawatts of electricity and plans 80 more gigawatts of capacity in 2006, equal to the entire capacity of Britain.
"It took the U.K. 110 years to build those 80 gigawatts," said James M. Brock, an expert who advises the Beijing office of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a U.S. consultancy.
Nonetheless, China is seeking oil security differently than other countries in East Asia. It's sent its three major state-owned oil companies to scour the globe and invest in foreign oil companies and oil fields.
China, a relative newcomer to capitalism, deeply mistrusts the global oil markets, viewing them as distastefully volatile.
Some analysts find China's efforts to control oil supplies perplexing.
"Oil is a tradable commodity. So what's the difference between buying it in the ground in Ecuador or buying it on the spot market?" asked David Hurd, a Beijing-based oil and gas analyst for Deutsche Bank. "There's some security to be had. But in times of crisis, there's little security unless you control shipping lanes."
China's strategy has led it to bid heavily - and even to overpay - for some assets.
"It's adapted a very 19th century approach to energy security, where you seek an almost mercantilist lock-up of energy sources," said John J. Hamre, the president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington public policy organization.
China has some reason to be nervous. While imported oil makes up only about 12 percent of China's total energy needs, its energy lifelines increasingly lead to the volatile Middle East. Some 60 percent of China's oil imports come from the Gulf region. Supertankers carrying the oil must pass through the pirate-infested Malacca Straits off Malaysia, where China's oil is protected by the U.S. Navy. China is beefing up its own navy, but it still can't protect faraway sea-lanes.
To diversify its suppliers, China has gone oil shopping in Central Asia, West Africa and even in South and North America.
Sometimes, Chinese oil companies simply bid high, as CNOOC Ltd., one of the national oil companies, did last summer when it offered $18.5 billion for the California oil company Unocal, a deal that was derailed by Capitol Hill critics who suggested that it threatened U.S. national security.
At other times, Chinese diplomats trail the state oil companies, sweetening investment bids with offers of few-strings-attached aid packages, hands-off political support and weapons.
China last year repeatedly blocked U.N. attempts to punish Sudan for failing to stop atrocities in its Darfur region. China owns a 40 percent stake in the major oil consortium drilling in Sudan, and it buys half of Sudan's crude exports.
Eyeing Nigeria's oil fields, China has offered Lagos some $7 billion in investments and said it may sell the country fighter jets, too.
Iran, which won pledges from China last year for $70 billion worth of oil and natural gas deals, also enjoys vital support from Beijing. Iran now appears confident that it can resist pressure from the European Union and the United States to give up its nuclear program, certain that China will veto any attempt to impose U.N. sanctions.
China not a military force to be reckoned with, yet
By Chang Yun-ping
Wednesday, Dec 14, 2005,Page 3
The rise of China and the growth of its economic and military power has not yet challenged US supremacy in maritime East and Southeast Asia as US strategic partnerships with regional allies are getting stronger and China still lacks the capability to build a powerful navy, a US scholar specializing in China-US affairs said at a conference in Taipei yesterday.
Robert Ross, executive board member and research associate of the Harvard-based John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies, made the comments yesterday at a forum entitled "The Rise of China and the Future of the Asia-Pacific Region," which was organized by the Asia Foundation in Taiwan and sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the forum, Ross said that although in recent years countries in East Asia have become more reliant on the Chinese, rather than the US market for economic growth, China's economic power has not caused these states to realign with China, rather they are enhancing their military cooperation with the US.
Ross pointed out countries such as Japan, which has recently allowed the US to station nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in one of its ports. Also Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia which have long been conducting annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises with the US in the region.
Apart from these countries, Ross highlighted South Korea and Taiwan as countries that are currently perceived as moving closer to China, the case for the latter due to the Taiwanese legislature's resistance to passing the arms procurement budget to purchase advanced US weapons, and the penetration of Chinese soft power into cross-strait economic and social contacts.
Nevertheless, despite the military superiority China possesses over Taiwan, Ross said nowhere is Chinese caution in using military power more evident than in the Taiwan Strait, and it has been exceedingly tolerant of Taiwan's movement toward sovereignty -- all because it wants to avoid a conflict with the US.
"For China to pose a threat to US security it must move beyond coastal sea-denial capability and develop a blue-water, power-projecting navy. However China faces considerable long-term constraints in pursuing such an objective," Ross said He added that no country would sell China a capable carrier and the necessary aircraft and support ships to achieve that end and China has yet to develop the personnel that can maintain the equipment.
The Chinese leadership is also aware of the "punishing" costs involved if it were to seek to develop its own aircraft carrier, he said.
In contrast to the views of Ross, Indonesian scholar Shafiah Muhibat said it will be in the best interests of Southeast Asian states to be an "honest broker," by hedging between China and other big regional powers such as Japan and the US.
"Southeast Asian states prefer not to perceive China as a threat that has to be fought against. Rather, their efforts have centered upon embracing China and bringing China into the heart of regional security cooperation ... however ASEAN's relations with Japan and the US are equally important and are part of a strategy of balancing the increasing power of China in the region," Muhibat said.
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Navy's plans for fighting terror call for smaller ships
Newport News and other shipyards that build big ships, such as aircraft carriers and subs, could be hurt.
BY DAVID LERMAN
December 13, 2005
WASHINGTON -- A new Navy shipbuilding plan envisions a future fleet with one fewer aircraft carrier and six fewer attack submarines than exist today, posing a threat to jobs at Northrop Grumman Newport News in the next decade.
The draft plan, which was obtained by the Daily Press but won't be released until February, calls for a total combat force of 313 ships, a significant increase from today's fleet of about 281 ships.
But that total masks a proposed decline in the large - and costly - ships that sustain major shipyards like Newport News.
The overall increase in fleet size can be explained by the Navy's plan to buy 55 Littoral Combat Ships - small, fast attack boats that can patrol waters close to shore. None of those ships exist today. Without them, the proposed future fleet would decline to 258 ships.
The Navy is considering two companies to build the new attack boats. Neither is located in Hampton Roads.
The shift in force structure, analysts said, signals a desire to reorient the Navy away from traditional deep-ocean battles toward ways to better engage in the war on terrorism - mostly fought on land or close to shore.
"The fleet is being postured for irregular warfare and unconventional combat," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute. "It is not being postured for war against China in the future."
The new chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, hinted at the new focus last week after visiting sailors in Pearl Harbor.
"We're in a long war," Mullen was quoted as saying. "It's a global war on terror. The Navy is incredibly relevant in that. We're changing mission sets for the future to get at that."
But the strategy shift, which has been evolving for years, could mean more economic pain in Newport News and other major shipbuilding cities.
By sticking to a proposal to mothball the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier next year and maintain only 11 carriers, the Navy must decide how to preserve a work force at Newport News - the nation's only carrier builder - sometime in the next decade.
Without the need to replace the Kennedy, the carrier currently scheduled to get under construction in about 2012 might not need to be built until 2018, said Ronald O'Rourke, a naval analyst at the Congressional Research Service. The six-year gap in construction work "could also have large effects on employment levels at the yard," he said, unless there was other work available to offset the loss.
The fate of the Kennedy could be resolved this week, as congressional negotiators try to complete a final version of a defense authorization bill for the current fiscal year. The House bill has called for maintaining a 12-carrier fleet, which would preserve the Kennedy, while the Senate version would not.
The future of the Virginia-class submarine program likewise appears uncertain. The Navy's proposal would shrink its force of attack submarines from 54 to 48. But several analysts expressed skepticism that the Navy could maintain even 48 subs.
Sustaining a fleet of 48 submarines would require doubling submarine procurement to two boats per year instead of one, to keep up with replacing all the older submarines scheduled to be retired.
But the Navy has delayed for years the move to double submarine production. The current six-year shipbuilding plan would not begin buying two submarines a year until 2012. At that rate, O'Rourke said, the Navy would need to start buying three submarines a year for about eight years straight. And virtually no one considers a tripling of submarine production either realistic or affordable in a program already criticized for soaring costs.
"No one wants to put more money into the program," said Norman Polmar, a veteran naval analyst and author with close ties to Pentagon leaders. "We're not going to build three a year. I doubt we'll build two a year in the next decade. That means we go down to 35 or 40" submarines.
Despite such doubts, Northrop Grumman Newport News welcomed the plan, which comes after years of uncertainty over the desired size of the fleet.
"While we have yet to see the report, from a shipbuilder perspective, we are optimistic because a defined plan from the Navy is an important step toward industry stability," said shipyard spokeswoman Jerri Fuller Dickseski.
Industry officials have urged a doubling of submarine production for years to help cut overhead costs and stabilize the construction work. At a rate of one new submarine per year, the country's two submarine builders - Newport News and General Dynamics Corp.'s Electric Boat yard in Connecticut - effectively build half a boat each per year.
General Dynamics last week announced plans to lay off up to 2,400 submarine workers, saying it did not receive contracts for submarine repair work that had been expected.
Costs of the new Virginia-class submarines - designed to be a cheaper alternative to the former Seawolf class - is fast approaching $3 billion a copy, exceeding the cost of the Seawolf. The price tag of the submarine Texas, now under construction, has already reached $2.7 billion - a 24 percent increase from original 1999 estimates.
"I can't be anything but skeptical about their ability to do this," said Christopher Hellman, a military policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. "These things are expensive and their costs are growing. As they said in the movie, 'Show me the money.' "
The Navy declined to discuss its draft plan, saying it is still being revised and must await the release of President Bush's budget in February. But analysts said the plan hinges on appropriations of roughly $13.4 billion a year for shipbuilding - a steady state of funding that Navy budgets have been sorely lacking.
It is not clear how - or whether - such significant funding will materialize at a time when defense budgets are expected to decline to help reduce the federal deficit.
This year's shipbuilding budget, for example, calls for spending only $6.2 billion to build four new ships. If refueling and repair work are included, the figure rises to about $8.7 billion. But under current plans, the Navy wouldn't hit the $13 billion figure until about 2009.
Polmar said Navy leaders are betting that more money can be found for shipbuilding by reaping the cost savings of recent reductions in personnel. He said the plan also assumes that managers can begin doing what they have failed to do for years: controlling the cost growth of ships.
But with the next-generation aircraft carrier expected to cost $14 billion or more, he said, the challenge will be enormous.
Most members of Congress have not yet been briefed on the fleet size plan.
Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "strongly endorses Adm. Mullen's greater emphasis on shipbuilding and fleet modernization," said Warner spokesman John Ullyot. But it was not clear whether Warner, who has fought to maintain the Kennedy carrier, will support reductions in the carrier and submarine fleets.
Virginia Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Gloucester, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said, "I absolutely don't support going down to 12 carriers. Dropping our subs down to 48 is absolutely wrong, given what China's doing."
Davis, who has not yet seen the plan, said she also has questions about the role of the new Littoral Combat Ship. "They may have their place, but to me they should not be the bulk of our Navy, " she said.
China eroding US dominance
By Donald Alford Weadon Jr
The Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation's recent attempted acquisition of Unocal raised American fears that China could challenge American energy security. Inside the beltway, conventional wisdom said spiking such Chinese deals would make the United States safer. Torpedoed by concerted lobbying by energy firms and administration China hawks, the deal was replaced when, only days later, the Chinese acquired PetroKazakhstan of Calgary for over US$4 billion in cash, a fateful transaction which barely merited ink in the US media.
Rather than making America safer, the Unocal affair only increased China's incentive to seek and bolster reliable energy supplies through bilateral trade on a global scale at America's expense. Other energy deals are being reported weekly.
As hard as China tries to diversify away from the Middle East, economic considerations dictate that it must come back to the Gulf, still the world's lowest-cost oil producer. Beijing recognizes that the preponderance of oil and natural gas come from this strategic area, hence providing increased incentives to expand its influence there, a penetration already broader than Washington pundits might think.
Not recognizing spheres of influence, China is rapidly expanding ties throughout the Arabian peninsula, Iran and the Levant. Bilateral energy swaps for goods/services will grow, eroding US commercial advantage in many markets currently considered "locked" for US or Western goods and technology.
Chinese companies are rapidly outgrowing their image as a source of cheap products, and are threatening the reputation of the US, Western European and West Asian capitals as the "go-to" resource for higher-end technology and large scale project support. For consumers of high technology goods, China will soon be able to meet virtually any civilian or military need as its productive capacity serves more and more foreign companies, with China even purchasing control of technology market leaders, such as the purchase of IBM's laptop business by Lenovo.
Many Western companies have already opened research and development facilities in China, and China is seeking to acquire Western companies with significant consumer quality identification (for example, Haier's attempted purchase of Maytag). In China, claimed abuses of intellectual property rights have actually expanded duplication into a guild-like methodology for industrial training and growth. In the future, few Western technologies will remain unmatched by China in both the commercial and military spheres.
In the military sphere, Chinese influence is dismissed by noting the relative weakness of its naval forces. But littoral diplomacy is supplanting a blue-water navy: China, like a latter-day Alfred Thayer Mahan (the renowned 19th century American geostrategist and naval power advocate), is shaping key basing agreements along the oil shipping-sea-lanes between China and the Gulf. Those who assert that Chinese military technology is poor should take note that the US Army has procured Chinese night vision equipment for the Iraqi Army in lieu of US gear.
Furthermore, the Chinese understand leverage in the trade equation on all levels, and they have utilized it to bolster their trade development in the Middle East, whether it be through sophisticated financial guarantees or petroleum-based finance. In the Gulf, Chinese companies are slowly translating growing trade relations into a concrete presence and regional political influence.
Whether it is projects to showcase Chinese products or services, or significant infrastructure projects which require sophisticated design and construction capabilities (such as ports or airports), the Chinese are eager to offer an alternative to Western giants. The common ground that China and the Gulf nations have found in trade and economics inevitably is spilling over into a perception of shared strategic interests. China's export-led growth, and its ability to provide jobs for its people, turns on access to ever-increasing quantities of energy.
What is the best metaphor for this situation, which lacks both the linearity of checkers and the exquisite dynamism of chess? Perhaps it is the national game of China - wei ch'i or "Go" - where control of the board is the crucial objective and the timeline is slow and deliberate. As in this 4,000-year-old board game, China is using economic wedge maneuvers to expand its financial influence, harden its economic achievements into political interests, and ultimately achieve control of the "board". Note how a string of Chinese actions defending Iran at the UN dovetailed with a series of large China-Iran energy deals.
Energy and economic engagement with the developing world are not the only diplomatic tools at China's command. China is now capable of unilateral action, with its UN veto a sheathed sword against US action. American influence as has been traditionally exerted will be a thing of the past unless China's goals are understood, and they are effectively engaged.
Donald Weadon, an international lawyer, was among the first US lawyers to practice in China. He studied with Harvard in Iran, has practiced throughout Asia and the Gulf and lives in Washington, DC. He can be reached at email@example.com
Man, you really get your tits in an uproar over China, huh?
People said the same thing about Billy Mitchell and Air Power.
I could lie to you.
How about this.
The Sun will Never Set on the
The United States will NEVER fight another war again.
After all we had the War to End All Wars (World War I)
The United States will remain supreme on the seas and in the Air, because it is our destiny.
I am primarily concerned because I view China as our Biggest Future Threat. Not the War on Terrorism.
To give you a good analogy, Wayne Gretzsky once said that there were a lot of guys who were faster skating on the ice and chasing the Hockey Puck. His Secret was that he happened to know where the Hocky Puck was going to be in the future, and would position himself so.
It isn't about meeting current threats, it is about positioning our forces to meet future threats that have the potential to do us some serious damage.
Most of our electronic components are now made in (drum roll please...) CHINA
Since China still tortures prisoners, has a one party rule, has censorship and has an economy that is catching up very fast to ours, has an enormous defense build up, a growing dependence on shipping and raw materials. Along with looming Environmental Disasters, a Growing Population and decreasing ability to feed their own population, as well as a Nationalism movement that is supported by the Chinese Communist Party, and animosity towards Japan.
Yeah, I could say that I have a legitimate reason to be concerned.
But hey, as long as their is cold beer in the Fridge and a Super Bowl every year, we have nothing to worry about, right?
Nobody and no country would EVER DARE to Attack the Good Ole USA.
We are Invincible.
Yeah, more fearmongering!
I read one of those articles in the early bird today. Full of inaccuracies. Of course, the article was written in a Hampton Roads newspaper, specifically in Newport News where all our carriers are built, so they are totally unbiased.
They make it sound like the entire fleet is going to be LCS and a couple of DDXs thrown in. They fail to mention that the 55 LCS ships are really replacing the 51 FFGs that we had in the Reagan era. They fail to mention the largest class of ship built since WWII is the DDG-51, some 57 will be built. They fail to mention the 22 CGs. They fail to mention DDX is a new capability in the fleet. They fail to mention the cons of a conventional carrier, and the problems with sustaining two conventional carriers in the fleet. They also fail to mention the number of attack sorties a modern carrier can generate per day compared to 10 and 15 years ago, when the 12 carrier fleet was determined.
They also fail to mention Japan, and soon Korea an Australia, will have Aegis.
But whatever. I still would like to know your motivation and your naval experience.
Aww crap dport...still phishing me are you? Back to your Rock Sand Crab
LCS --> McHales Navy --> here we come.
Seriously, I think a better question is what is YOUR AGENDA?
Thanks for the articles, BT. I always find them interesting.
You are welcome. Expect Inaccuracies since I will only post News Articles that are available to anyone on the Web.
But they will give you an idea of what is going on.
Please make your own assessments.
And also keep in mind that I do NOT post all of the stories.
news.google.com is a nice place to look for articles.
A good academic article to read if you can find it is...
"The Balance of Threat across the Taiwan Strait: A Game Theoretical Analysis"
From The Journal of Chinese Political Science. vol. 2 no. 5 Fall 2005, written by Wu, Chengqui.
It's actually not very complicated in its game theoretic analysis... Cliff Notes?
America maintains a strategic ambiguity over how much it is committed to defending Taiwan, as to preserve the status quo. By not over commiting, Taiwan won't do something stupid like declare independence and provoke China to attack... but also by committing at a unknown level, China knows not to attack Taiwan. America has a credible commitment to defending Taiwan thanks to the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and previous its response to hostile actions (really small scale shelling of outposts in the 50s). The article then constructs a basic mathematical model.
China increasing its military power? Then the US steps up its perceived commitment! Just like President Bush did in his first term.
I don't worry about commie China, they are going to get their butts kicked by the USA. They have so many problems that we will exploit that it's not even funny. There isn't anything the Chinese can come up with that we can't counter. The only thing that will determine how long the commie Chinese will survive is America's ruthlessness at the time.
The Chinese population represents another opportunity to spread American-style representative government, Christianity, and business enterprises. And we are willing to kill the communists in China to do so, if the situation hits that point. The commies in China have their plates full keeping "Coca-Colonization" in check and the shooting hasn't even started.
Those fancy new buildings in China weren't built by their worker's love for the motherland. Their 'gubment pension system is in worse shape than SS. Their best and brightest will flee the mainland if the SHTF. China's neighbors simply won't trust her enough to hang on for a wartime alliance. Their best ally is the failed state of North Korea. China is not resource independent. China's internal economy cannot even sustain itself. China has zero modern combat experience and their logistics to support a military of their size will buckle under American weaponry.
McHales Navy, are you serious? You probably don't have the faintest clue about the capabilities of LCS. The damn thing is more capable than over half the Chinese Navy.
My background is well known here. Yours is not. And any time a question is brought up concerning your background you deflect it.
I also noticed you didn't try to rebutt any of the facts in my response. That's because you can't.
BT97, thanks for posting these articles about the threat of China. I to have tried to raise awareness about the growing threat of China in this forum but unfortuently there are just to many chest thumping ostriches here (heads buried in the sand mentalities).
Japan's military may back oil drive
From Leo Lewis in Tokyo
JAPAN’S military could be called in to protect Japanese vessels conducting exploratory drilling for oil and gas in disputed territory under legislation being drafted by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The move comes as tempers flare between Tokyo and Beijing over resource rights in the East China Sea.
If passed, the Bill would create, for the first time, a legal framework in which the Government could physically guarantee the safety of drilling ships operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claimed by Japan. The new Bill comes as Japan’s Teikoku Oil, which has been granted the right to drill in the controversial area, is engaged in a hefty merger that will clearly mark it out as the country’s national champion in energy.
Government insiders say that the merger itself comes as the result of huge pressure from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. As the size of energy-related rows between Japan and China has grown, Tokyo has become more certain that it needs a giant energy group that will, in effect, do its political bidding abroad. With enough size behind it, the argument goes, the new group will be able to flex its muscles on behalf of Japan in Iran and the East China Sea.
By defining as a crime the unauthorised entry into the EEZ by, for example, a Chinese exploratory vessel, the new law would allow Japan to respond accordingly. This could initially mean mobilising the armed patrol boats of the coastguard, though the Government has long hinted that it might consider upping the ante and using the ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force for more heavyweight backup.
The area at issue, near a string of small disputed islands called Senkaku in Japanese, has already provoked a series of bitter diplomatic spats and has, in the eyes of defence experts, raised the very real risk of naval skirmishes. As the Asian neighbours’ thirst for local energy resources grows more intense, the stakes have been ratcheted still higher in recent months. Over the summer a flare was spotted billowing from a Chinese drilling facility, which Tokyo presented as evidence that gas had been discovered — gas that it believes originates in a field that lies on the Japanese side of the so-called medial line.
Japan’s response, as well as calling for all Chinese operations to cease, was to make a grand public show of granting drilling rights for the zone to Teikoku, which had never risked exploring the area before.
Since then, Teikoku’s industry stature has surged as it finalises arrangements to merge with its domestic rival Inpex next April. The weight of the new group has been further enhanced by Nippon Oil, which is Teikoku’s largest shareholder with a stake of about 20 per cent and yesterday mapped out a plan that would effectively create a three-way merger and Japan’s first proper “energy major”.
Nippon Oil’s idea, having boosted its stake from 16 per cent earlier this week, is to participate in the full integration of Teikoku and Inpex to give the resulting company a full range of upstream and downstream operations. Teikoku and Inpex, meanwhile, remain unconvinced that adding Nippon’s wholesale business to their exploration expertise will generate much value.
Kelly: Sasebo ‘most important’ strategic location for CNFJ
Proximity to China, Korea is key, commander says
By Greg Tyler, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Thursday, December 15, 2005
Rear Adm. James Kelly, commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, speaks at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, on Tuesday afternoon during his first visit to the base since taking command nine weeks ago.
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sasebo Naval Base is “the most important strategic” U.S. Navy base in Japan, Rear Adm. James D. Kelly, commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, told about 300 sailors gathered for an all-hands call here Tuesday.
The southern Japan base is closer to the Koreas and China than the other five CNFJ facilities, he said, adding that Sasebo’s location, its harbor’s natural safety and the quality of its port facilities make Sasebo a key site.
Kelly held the all-hands call in the Showboat Theater during his first trip to Sasebo since taking command about nine weeks ago.
“There is more oil, gas and ordnance here than in any other one place in the world. In Sasebo, we guard, provide medical care, places to live, public works, MWR services … everyone who lives here or might have a need to use our facilities. We do a lot of stuff here,” he said.
“Right up front, I love you,” he told the sailors. “Sasebo is a great place, and you’re doing great things.”
In connection with Sasebo’s strategic position, he spoke about the volatility of North Korea and the emergence of China’s navy as a global maritime power or “blue-water Navy.”
“Who do you think is a challenge to their blue-water navy?” he asked. “Us.”
Kelly touched on the recently announced decision for nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington to replace the aging USS Kitty Hawk at Yokosuka Naval Base.
He said the Washington should come to Japan by spring 2008, “giving us greater capability” in accord with the Navy’s aim to keep “the best force we have forward-deployed.”
Of the draft U.S.-Japan agreement to realign U.S. forces in Japan, Kelly said there are “some big moving pieces” including transferring Carrier Air Wing 5 from Atsugi Naval Air Facility to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and relocating Marines from Camp Futenma to Camp Schwab in Okinawa.
Kelly identified manning as an issue that’s “really huge to me.” The 31 tenant commands in Sasebo currently are staffed at about 80 percent — a figure he said should be about 95 percent if “we’re going to be the best we can be.”
“We’ve drawn the line in the sand,” he said, “and we’re stamping our feet” about the manning shortage, a key issue with an operations tempo of about 60 percent.
While visiting Sasebo, Kelly said, he had the opportunity to learn about local “pieces moving on the checkerboard,” including ongoing dredging of the Juliet Basin to create more ship berthing spaces and plans to move Assault Craft Unit 5 in coming years from the Sakibe Laydown Facility south to Yokose Fuel Terminal.
Kelly, who also visited with Sasebo city officials, characterized the relationship between the base and local community as good and stressed the need to maintain that relationship.
He urged sailors to prevent incidents that could mar it by “taking care of your shipmates” and “taking care of yourself.”
“You need to make sure you are not doing that stupid thing out in town that is going to cause an incident,” he told them. “Conduct on liberty counts.”
When I see Chinese warships in the PG protecting their oil LOCs then I'll consider them to be a blue water navy. Until then, and until they operate without air cover from land, they're a green water frigate navy.
Reactive vs Proactive. Smart Move.
There are quite a few people who are in disagreement with your strategy.
When they demonstrate the capability then they'll get the label. Not before.
It takes quite a bit of capability to be a true blue water navy. They don't have that capability yet.
Despite your attempt to mischaraterize what I said, they do bear watching. However, most of this is posturing by a defense industry starved for dollars.